Tag Archives: bariatric surgery

Weight-Loss Surgery May Release Toxic Compounds From Fat Into the Bloodstream – Surgery

I’m not a doctor, just a guy who writes a blog on trying to live healthy by getting enough exercise and eating intelligently. So, I find the conclusion of this study to be almost karmic.


Toxic man-made chemicals—such as polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides—that are absorbed into the body and stored in fat may be released into the bloodstream during the rapid fat loss that follows bariatric surgery, according to a study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The finding points to the need for further research to understand the health effects of this potential toxicant exposure.

For the study, published online November 5 in Obesity, the researchers examined 26 people undergoing bariatric weight-loss surgery, and found evidence of post-surgery rises in the bloodstream levels of environmental toxicants that are known to be stored long term in fat, including PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, and PCB-like polybrominated diphenyl ethers. The study also revealed that participants born before 1976—when most of these chemical compounds were still widely used—tended to have much higher bloodstream levels of the chemicals, compared to younger participants.

“The fact that this increasingly popular type of surgery may be causing these compounds to be released into the bloodstream really challenges us to understand the potential health consequences,” says study senior author John Groopman, PhD, the Edyth H. Schoenrich Professor in Preventive Medicine at the Bloomberg School.

About 16 million people in the U.S. are morbidly obese, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 35 kg/m2. Their extreme overweight condition confers a relatively high risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and many cancers. For almost three decades, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has recommended weight-loss surgeries called bariatric surgeries—including stomach stapling and gastric bypass procedures—for people who are morbidly obese and have serious obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, as well as for anyone with a BMI over 40. More than 200,000 bariatric surgeries are now performed in the country every year. Continue reading


Filed under bariatric surgery, belly fat, central obesity, obesity

Weight Loss Lessons We Can Learn from the Saudis

When I think of the Saudis on the other side of the world from me here in the U.S., I get an image of oil fields, sand and great wealth, not much to do with great health. So, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal opened my eyes about the latter.


Regular readers know that I have railed repeatedly on these pages against the current state of our health. The following quote has appeared in several posts: “Some 60 percent of us are overweight including 30 percent actually obese. Another 10 percent has Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition.” Lamentable as those facts are, an item in the Saturday edition of The Wall Street Journal makes us sound like a bunch of jocks compared with the Saudis. Unfortunately, the weight loss lessons to learn from them are of the “Don’t let this happen to you” variety.

“As World’s Kids Get Fatter, Doctors Turn to the Knife” The headline reads ‘world’s kids’ but the article focuses on the dire condition of Saudi children. The subhead says, “Obesity rates are soaring in Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf states, leading to a boom in bariatric surgery on children.”P1-BP125_OBESIT_NS_20140214164803

In the U.S. bariatric surgery is not permitted on anyone under the age of 14. In the Journal piece, they had a three-year-old weighing 61 pounds getting it. That 61 pounds is double the normal weight for a child that age.

The article mentions the ‘growing health crisis’ in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. “Widespread access to unhealthy foods, coupled with sedentary behavior brought on by wealth and the absence of a dieting and exercise culture, have caused obesity levels in Saudi Arabia and many other Gulf states to approach or even exceed those in Western countries.”

The doctor doing the bariatric surgery on the three-year-old has done nearly 100 such surgeries on children under the age of 14 in the past seven years.

Where there is a weight problem you can bet that diabetes is not far behind.

“Some 20% of the Saudi adult population has Type 2 diabetes, a condition linked to obesity, according to the International Diabetes Federation, compared with 8.3% in the U.S., according to the CDC. The cost of diabetes treatment in Saudi Arabia is expected to rise to $2.4 billion in 2015, more than triple that spent in 2010, according to a recent study in the Journal of Family and Community Medicine,” The Journal reports.

The surgeon, Dr. Alqahtani studied at McGill University in Montreal and in Denver. “When he returned home to Riyadh in 2002, he says, he was inundated with pediatric patients so obese they were suffering from advanced stages fatty liver disease, diabetes and sleep apnea, a disorder in which patients repeatedly stop breathing for short periods during sleep—all diseases typically not seen until middle age.”

As quoted above, access to unhealthy foods, sedentary behavior and the lack of an exercise culture are responsible for these health horrors. The weight loss lessons to be learned here are that no matter who you are and how much money you have there is no escaping the basic requirements of good health – eat intelligently and exercise your body regularly. Don’t let this happen to you. Eat less; move more works every time.



Filed under diabetes, diet, Exercise, health, healthy eating, healthy living, Saudi Arabia, Weight